Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do

“Carousel” from Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris

Enjoy web-exclusive footage of Chita Rivera’s concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where she sang “Carousel” from Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, the musical revue she toured nationally in 1970. The thrilling performance begins with Rivera breathily caressing each word to a gentle accompaniment by piano and violin. The band joins in, the tempo gradually builds to a gallop, and Rivera delivers the lyrics with an inflection and pace that captures a carnival’s unsettling mix of delight, menace and unbridled energy.

Jacques Brel (Apr. 8, 1929 – Oct. 9, 1978) was a Belgian songwriter and performer who wrote and sang in French. Brel’s popular “La Valse à Mille Temps,” set to a waltz time, was re-written in English by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman and renamed “Carousel” specifically for Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.

American singers as diverse as Ray Charles, John Denver, Frank Sinatra and Judy Collins have also performed English-language versions of Brel’s lyric-driven songs.